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Faust: Stretch Out Time 1970-1975
September sees the release of the first book about the band, titled Faust: Stretch Out Time 1970-75, by Andy Wilson. Fully illustrated, the book covers the early history of the band and reviews all of their music from that period, collected on The Wümme Years and Faust IV. It also includes essays on the history of Krautrock, on time and on the influence of Frank Zappa on the group, as well as live reviews from the period.
I'll add more news when I have it. In the meantime, send any enquiries to Stretch Out Time
The book jacket reads:
"In 1970 Polydor Records funded an unusual experiment. They gave some unknown German musicians a retreat in the countryside near Hamburg, equipped it with a studio and their best engineer, then left them free to do as they liked. This is the story of Faust and the music they made between 1970 and 1975, music which continues to inspire and confound listeners to this day. Along the way, Andy Wilson recounts the rise of Krautrock and its connection with the social upheavals of the late '60s and early '70s. He also discusses the role of time in music, takes a swing at Frank Zappa and looks in detail at the records Faust made in their heroic years.
Andy Wilson lives in Hackney, London. He has been listening to Faust for the best part of a lifetime."
"Gaspo! Here's a copy of the recent Faust book, Faust: Stretch Out Time 1970-1975, by Andy Wilson, written and self-published by the same man who diligently compiles the splendid (unofficial) Faust website in this country. A mere three-minute browse this lunchtime has already persuaded me I'm holding a very detailed and intelligent study in my hands, with lots of facts about how the records got made in particular, but I'm getting a good buzz from the half-tone illustrations too - nice to see them embedded in the pages (ie instead of glossy plates inserted) and of such high quality, not to mention the lip-smacking rare pix of press handouts, newspaper adverts, posters, unreleased covers, and what have you. I can't absorb enough information (or mythology) about this band, one of my firm favorites for many years, even if I'm still floundering like a wet fish as I try to grasp their music. Also in favour of this book - it's got a proper discography, notes and citations, bibliography and... an index! How many worthless cut-and-paste rock biographies concern themselves with such important details? One in the eye for certain other music book publishers I could name."
* Ed Pinsett, The Sound Projector, March 2007
"Substantial limited edition paperback, privately published by webmaster of the Faust website, writer and long time scholar of all things Faustian. This book covers all of the Wümme material (making it a good companion to the box set) - as well as Faust IV (recorded at The Manor) - in considerable detail, and in the context of the time - with epiphenomenal forays into music, temporality, the influence of Frank Zappa and other related questions. Many photographs; Indispensable for all fans of Faust or students of the period."
* Recommended Records / ReR, March 2007
"This is a book about the ground-breaking 1970s rock group Faust, more to the point, about their music and the time in which it was created (1970-75). There is a lot packed into the two hundred or so pages of this book.
The 100 or so pages in the middle are a record-by-record, track-by-track, guide to the music of the original band, comprising the four early releases on Polydor and Virgin, and a series of releases, re-releases and even remixes over the years by Recommended Records, by the band itself and one significant fan project. This part of the book is interspersed with concert reviews, reprinted articles, publicity materials, pictures of the musicians and artwork from the records. Sadly no photographs appear of the band in performance at that time. For those who already 'own' the music, the book succeeds brilliantly in making you want to go back and listen to it again. Particularly if you have followed the band into the present day, it is easy to become forgetful of these classic recordings (now more readily available than ever, incidentally). The commentary successfully combines analysis and opinion. The comments can be surprisingly critical, but even - or especially - when I found the judgement on a particular track surprising, it simply provided me with the incentive to listen again for myself. For those who are not familiar with the music, or with all of it, the book will provide ample encouragement to do something about it.
Much of the remainder of the book is taken up with three essays, one on the emergence and significance of 'Krautrock', one a reflection on 'the role of time in music' and one a commentary on certain aspects of Frank Zappa's work. The author suggests that some readers may want to ignore these parts of the book. That would be a shame, for they are well worth reading and their relevance to the main subject, Faust, is never in question. For me, the most interesting of the three essays is the second one. It's a rich and thought-provoking essay, tapping into socio-political as well as psycho-aesthetic lines of reasoning. It drew me (intentionally, I think) into thinking about why it is that people who like Faust quite often have certain other musical interests in common, even though these are by no means of a single 'style'. I found the chapter on Zappa more interesting than the one on Krautrock, largely because it is actually about Zappa, whereas the other one seemed to be less about Krautrock, than about the music from which it set itself apart. A listeners' guide to other German groups of the 1970s (which is what I expected) would have appealed to me more.
The book is rounded out by a brief update on what Faust are up to these days (continuing to make excellent music, in a nutshell), useful but unobtrusive (no Michael Gray-style footnote quagmire here) bibliographic, discographic and other supplements, the text of Faust's 1973 situationist (?) 'manifesto', a full index and an unusual but quite successful approach to illustration. Whilst there are some larger pictures in the book, the use of dense arrays of thumbnail images means that in total there are around 200 pictures in all, some of which will only be of interest to the fans they depict, but which seem perfectly at home in the book.
In this, the first full-length book about Faust, the author predicts at the outset that the group's music will continue to be listened to and appreciated in generations to come. Perhaps the best complement that can be paid to this excellent book is to suggest that its very existence should help to ensure that it will be.
* Steven Fligelstone, Amazon
"Just finished reading Andy Wilson's new book on Faust, Stretch Out Time 1970-1975... the book is great. Tthe majority of it is simply Wilson going over the released music, track by track, but he's got interesting things to say about it, translates many of the lyrics, and includes several choice anecdotes from the band members about the context / meaning of the lyrics and the production. this approach usually ruins the music for most bands, but not here, their 'explanations' are equally mystifying. the opening essay which places Krautrock in context with the US & British rock invasion is extremely well written - what was it about Germany that gave rise to so many revolutionary electronic rock bands is an inherently political issue, which Wilson understands well. The narrative-based approach also presents the different members' drastically conflicting accounts of the early band history in a linear fashion while still staying impartial to any one account. Also: full discography, concert reviews of their 73/74 tours, lots of pictures (a few not in the Faust Box), mostly all carried over from the Faust Pages but excellent to have them as a printed reference."
"The music of the group Faust has been steadily growing more and more popular, spreading in an almost viral way from enthusiast to enthusiast. Yet, it seemed odd that there was such a lack of written material. Chris Cutler's booklet in the excellent Wümme Years box set made it abundantly clear that those involved in Faust had personalities and lives every bit as unique and intriguing as the music they recorded.
So, a book on Faust was urgently needed and who better to write it than Andy Wilson, the man behind the excellent Faust Pages website. With this book, Andy looks into Faust's first golden age in detail, examining the music more than the people involved. His approach works beautifully, bringing you closer to the music without demystifying it. The whole journey through their magic works is accompanied by newspaper clippings, photos (some great archive pictures and even a blurry photo of me before I grew my hair and beard!) and quotes from both band members and the music press of the time.
The passion with which Andy writes about Faust is deeply inspiring and infectious. So much so, that I found it impossible to read without sticking on whichever album I was reading about. This book is not just wild etnhusiasm, though, as Andy's knowledge of Faust subject is also second to none. Although Faust's memories are variable due to the fact it all happened over 30 years ago (and probably in no small part to the quantities of marijuana smoked back then), Andy does a good job it piecing together the puzzle and providing us with all the available pieces. "Stretch Out Time" finishes off where the Wümme Years booklet started and delivers the definitive account of those years. With Faust currently more active than ever, the timing is perfect on this book. It's a labour of love and an absolute pleasure to read."
* Ned Netherwood, Was Ist Das
... I'd actually disagree that Krautrocksampler is very good at being either of those; Julian Cope is super-enthusiastic about the subject, but never really does much more than give a personal take on the matter. Which is fine, as far as it goes, and it's an enjoyable read - but the book only really assumes any position of authority on the subject by default.... Other useful books are on individual artists: Stephen Iliffe's Painting with Sound - the life and music of Hans-Joachim Roedelius is a lovingly-produced biography and discography for the ambient/techno pioneer of Cluster fame, with every one of his extensive releases, solo or otherwise, reviewed and illustrated. Andy Wilson's Stretch Out Time 1970-1975 does the same in excellently readable style for Faust, with several chapters putting them in the context of other Krock bands of the era as well as the wider political landscape of post-war West Germany and of avantgarde and rock music in general.
* Mon Oncle Ignatius, Barbelith Underground